Friday, October 5, 2007

The Blooding of Jack Absolute-C.C. Humphreys

The Blooding of Jack Absolute
C.C. Humphreys
Dunne, Oct 2007, $24.95
ISBN: 9780312358235

With his parents away most of the time, as his mother the actress accompanies his father the soldier on his campaigns, his Uncle Duncan raises Jack Absolute. In an odd way Uncle Duncan cares for the boy especially when he is sober, but he spends much of his waking hours drunk. So Duncan’s son abusive Craster plans to watch over the lad with an iron fist.

When Duncan suddenly dies, Jack joins his parents in London. However, Jack gets into deep trouble when Lord Melbury catches him sleeping with the aristocrat’s mistress. Taking this as a worse insult than if the youngster slept with his wife, Melbury demands satisfaction with Jack's father. Melbury dies in the duel, but Jack knows he must leave town to avoid vengeance or recrimination. Thus he enlists joining General Burgoyne's Light Dragoons deploying to the New World in the war with the French. After the Battle of Quebec, Jack’s escapades turn nastier as Indians allied to the French abduct him and leave him to die in the wintry wilderness. Jack struggles to survive with his goal to return to England.

Jack is at his swaggering best in this terrific prequel (see JACK ABSOLUTE). His escapades on both sides of the Anglo pond are entertaining as he blusters his way in and out of trouble like a youthful Errol Flynn. Historical thriller readers will appreciate his blooding entry into the world if action and adventure.

Harriet Klausner